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Hicks Johnson Obtains TRO Against Matra Petroleum, Heads to Trial

Hicks Johnson Obtains TRO Against Matra Petroleum, Heads to Trial

In a decision that bodes ill for Matra Petroleum, a Houston court has restrained the company and its financial partners from engaging in corporate restructuring, including the foreclosure of approximately $10 million of debt. The restructuring, according to a former executive’s lawsuit, was merely a financial shell game meant to defraud him of a multi-million-dollar judgment he obtained against Matra.

Former Director of Corporate Affairs Vladimir Lenskiy was constructively terminated by Matra in early 2018 with more than two years of salary owed him at the time. Mr. Lenskiy filed an arbitration proceeding against the oil and gas company, and in October 2018 he prevailed, obtaining a $2.4 million judgment, confirmed in United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

Rather than paying Mr. Lenskiy, Matra embarked on a plan to defraud him. What appears to be a straightforward breach of contract suit, however, in fact it has international twists and turns that reach to the Kremlin.

According to Mr. Lenskiy’s subsequent lawsuit, Bosov and Barskiy conspired with Melody Capital Partner to restructure the Texan oil and gas subsidiary to dissolve it as the judgment debtor, removing all of Matra’s assets, and leaving nothing on its books.

The temporary injunction was granted on May 20th by Judge Tanya Garrison, presiding over the 157th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. The injunction restrains Matra Petroleum, Melody Capital Partners, and Mr. Barskiy – the from engaging in any further financial or corporate restructuring, including foreclosure on individual credit facilities held by Melody Capital Partners.

The injunction hearing came after a barrage of activity by Melody and Matra, including several unsuccessful emergency motions in both the court of appeals and the trial court.

The trial is scheduled for the fall of 2019.

Vladimir Lenskiy is represented by Partners Logan Johnson and Varant Yegparian.